Peehi Manini, what the hell is that? Sounds like peepee mankini, or Piri Weepu... No, stop thinking about peepee or mankinis you dirty, dirty Kiwi, it's actually a street name in Waitahanui near Taupo. Hutt local girl Bex Houston pointed this out to me on the way to the Day Night Thriller, you'll never hear the end of it now girl!
Well, it's been nearly 6 months since I last put pen to paper about mountain biking. So here we go, I'm back on the bike and racing again. The mystery illness that screwed me up for a solid 6 months disappeared almost as sudden as at arrived. Bastard thing.
Fortunately for me, this subsiding illness coincided with Tony "Tiger" Keith asking "What are you doing with your riding?" to which I admitted "Nothing..." and he swiftly suggested "Right, lets get you training again". Although I was hesitant and very rusty at first, Tiger persisted at keeping me on the bike, prescribing drinking time on Fridays, 'easy cunnie' spinning days, 'ghey roadie' Mondays and smash it out Wednesdays. This is the training I absolutely love. Tigs, I can't thank you enough for getting me back on track and making racing fun again. I don't think 100 Lamason coffees could even repay you, but it might be a good start.
I have done two races since I started training properly again in May. The first was PNP #1 at Wainuioumata. My approach to this race was completely different to the past - I stayed out til midnight the night before catching up with an old Dunedin mate, rocked up to Wainui and did a 5 minute warm up, and hung out at the start line. I didn't feel nervous at all, had no plan of attack, no expectations and no worries. My only goal was to be smooth the whole race and enjoy it.
And that I did. It was the best race I have ever had. It wasn't the placing that made it the best - it was a combination of my frame of mind and physical performance that did. When I was hurting, I told myself to push it harder. When I was quick downhill, I pushed it even faster. I was railing, pumping, jumping and hucking all with a big smile on my face. In the past I have often shied away from hurt, and dug myself into a hole because of it, so embracing the hurt is a real success for me.
My second race was the 12hr team Day Night Thriller. This race our aim was just to have fun and enjoy catching up with everyone - because at the end of the day, that's how we all started - sifting around with mates, having a few laughs and just riding bikes. I did 7 laps and I felt incredibly smooth and strong. I stormed the short climbs and pushed it to the absolute limit, with the same frame of mind I had in Wainui except I was absolutely fizzing to ride more laps!
In the past four months I've found my racing mojo again - I can't begin to describe how happy I am. I'm not aiming to be fast, make the worlds team or win races. I just want to race, and that's fine by me. It's the love that counts.